B.C. Environment Minister ‘silent’ on incineration ban: FVRD

CHILLIWACK - A pitch to promote new provincial packaging standards brings a renewed call for a moratorium on Vancouver incineration plans.

A pitch to promote new provincial packaging standards brought a renewed call for a moratorium on Vancouver’s incineration plans by the Fraser Valley Regional District.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman called the environment ministry’s Packaging and Printed Paper (PPP) stewardship program presented to the FVRD board Tuesday a “great concept” to improve waste recycling in B.C.

But in the same breath Banman noted the B.C. government is allowing Metro Vancouver to burn “residual” wastes that can’t be recycled in proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities, which the FVRD insists threatens air quality in the Fraser Valley.

“We live in an obviously sensitive airshed, and we’re the food basket for Vancouver,” Banman said, after the Tuesday meeting.

“Does Vancouver really want to be eating this stuff they propose (incinerating) going up in the air?” he asked.

Metro Vancouver appears to be pushing ahead with plans to build a WTE facility, which would deal with the region’s ever-growing waste disposal woes and also produce energy for sale.

New Westminster, Burnaby, Surrey and the Tsawwassen First Nation are all reportedly interested in becoming sites for an incineration plant, although no WTE proposal has yet been approved.

But Banman said Metro Vancouver is pushing ahead with its WTE plans, issuing a request for proposals without consulting the FVRD board, as directed by Environment Minister Terry Lake when he approved MV’s waste management strategy last July.

Banman said the minister is now asking the FVRD to join its new packaging program by enforcing bans at municipal landfills, yet he is “silent” when it comes to a ban on incineration in the Fraser Valley.

“Once you start feeding that (WTE) monster, it’s going to be hard to stop,” Banman warned, because of the profit energy sales will bring to the company that gets the contract to build the facility.

And some clean fuel will always be needed to feed the fire at incineration plants, added Sharon Gaetz, FVRD chairperson and Chilliwack Mayor.

“We don’t want to see recyclables diverted to fuel the behemoth,” she said.

Experts disagree on the safety of WTE technology, in terms of nanoparticles slipping through emission scrubbers and impacting human health.

But Patricia Ross, head of the FVRD’s air quality committee, said the Fraser Valley is no place to experiment.

“You don’t experiment in one of the most sensitive airsheds in the world,” she said.

“The provincial government is not realizing we don’t yet have the regulatory framework to properly monitor and enforce” emission standards at WTE sites, she said.

Banman told directors that he pressed Lake about the FVRD’s consultation concerns at a recent budget meeting in Victoria.

“He didn’t care for me very much,” Banman said, about his meeting with Lake.

The minister said he would “ensure” Metro Vancouver consulted with the FVRD before going ahead with WTE, Banman reported, but he also wanted the FVRD to be “open” to Metro Vancouver’s views.

“I kept lobbing the ball back into his court,” Banman said. “He got the message that we’re not fooling around.”

A motion to forward Banman’s and other directors’ comments about incineration and the lack of consultation to the environment minister was unanimously approved by the FVRD board.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A massive fire at the Delair Court Apartments destroyed one of the buildings on the morning of Feb. 14. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Salvation Army thanks residents for ‘incredible generosity’ to victims of apartment fire

16 palettes of items donated to those who lost homes in Delair Court Apartments

Dr. Carin Bondar moderates a panel for an online event being hosted by UFV on March 8 for International Women’s Day. (Submitted photo)
UFV presents International Women’s Day event with Choose to Challenge theme

Online panel on Monday, March 8 discuss how they handle life’s challenges

web
Spirit Animal Totems: The Spirit Within exhibition on display at Mission gallery

The work of Mission artist Nancy Arcand showcased at Rock Family Gallery from March 2-20

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition after Harrison Mills incident, homicide investigators deployed

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on October 27, 2020. The City of Vancouver says it has purchased a former hotel at a major thoroughfare that can house about 65 units to accommodate homeless people. A joint news release by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and city says 2075 Kingsway, Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver, will be ready for accommodation this November. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen also announced a $51.5 million Rapid Housing Initiative for Vancouver that is expected to create 135 new affordable homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former Vancouver hotel to be converted to 65 units for homeless people by the fall

The former Days Inn on Kingsway will be ready to house people in November

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Murder conviction upheld in case where Surrey mom was stabbed in front of her kids

Jury in 2017 found Tanpreet Kaur Athwal, aka Sonia Kaur Gill, guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 death of Amanpreet Bahia, 33

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

A GoFundMe campaign for Riley Stevens and his family has raised more than $5,700 since launching last week. (Contributed photo)
White Rock mom of sick tot ‘totally blown away’ by donations, offers help

GoFundMe campaign to help family of Riley Stevens crests $5,700

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Time to check the mail: Every household to receive a Canada Post postcard this spring

Postcard can be mailed for free to any address in Canada

Most Read